Although I am not a mac owner, my uncle is and he just got an iPod classic for his son.  As it turns out, if you have Mac OS 10.3.9 and an iPod classic, iTunes refuses to sync to the new iPod and gives an error requiring an upgrade to 10.4 or later.  The Mac boards are some help, but it took piecing together a few things to get the iPod Classic to work with 10.3.9.  Here’s our outline:

  1. Have someone format your iPod through iTunes (we went to the SLC apple store)
  2. Find out your fwid (the SLC apple store was helpful there as well)
  3. get yamipod and install
  4. plug in ipod
  5. tell yamipod that you have a ipod classic
  6. tell yamipod the fwid
  7. add songs!

If you don’t have an apple store nearby, I’m not sure what to tell you.  Google shows that getting the fwid might be difficult.  You also need to have a friend with 10.4 to initialize the iPod.

I can only think of a couple of reasons for the restriction for 10.4.  None of them make much sense.  Apple wants people to upgrade their OS; Apple worries about the user experience of people taking days to sync their library over USB 1.X and won’t allow it; Apple programmers use a function available only in 10.4 and apple is too lazy to add it to 10.3.  With my uncle’s iPod classic playing music and syncing to yamipod running in Mac OS 10.3.9, the restriction is obviously not a hardware problem, but a software restriction put in by apple.  Not cool.

Edit: 1/8/2008:

yamipod has a faq on how to find the fwid.